Governor Deval Patrick Appoints Dr. Julian Harris as Director of the Office of Medicaid

State of Massachusetts Press Release

BOSTON — The Patrick-Murray Administration today announced that Dr. Julian Harris has been appointed to serve as Director of the Office of Medicaid, a state program that provides comprehensive health insurance for more than 1 million children, families, seniors and people with disabilities in Massachusetts.

Dr. Harris — who has served in a wide range of organizations — currently practices primary care at the Southern Jamaica Plain Community Health Center and hospitalist medicine at the Cambridge Health Alliance, both of which serve populations with high levels of participation in MassHealth and other state health programs. He is a clinical fellow on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and a senior resident in internal medicine and primary care at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and its affiliated Southern Jamaica Plain Community Health Center. He formerly served at the World Bank, where he was charged with day-to-day management of the World Bank Institute’s AIDS program. He also worked on national health payment and delivery system reform for an international client at McKinsey & Company.

“Massachusetts is a national leader in expanding access to health care, and we are now at the forefront of cost containment efforts,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “As Medicaid Director, Dr. Harris will play a vital leadership role in our nation-leading efforts provide high-quality, cost-efficient care for our most vulnerable populations.”

“Dr. Harris will bring to this role an impressive range of clinical, health policy and business experience,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby. “I look forward to working with Dr. Harris to ensure that in the future the Office of Medicaid reflects the advances we know we must make to ensure access and the highest quality of care for members.”

“I am humbled and honored that Governor Patrick and Secretary Bigby have selected me to serve the people of the Commonwealth as Medicaid Director at this pivotal moment in the program's history,” Dr. Harris said. “As a physician, I have seen first-hand the transformational effects of access to coverage on patient outcomes. I look forward to building on Assistant Secretary Terry Dougherty's work to ensure that the MassHealth program provides members with access to more integrated models of care that improve quality and outcomes for patients while helping us to bend the health care cost curve in the Commonwealth.”

A Truman and Rhodes Scholar, Dr. Harris graduated summa cum laude from Duke University with a degree in Medical Ethics and Health Policy and studied Economic and Social History at Oxford University. Dr. Harris received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a Master’s in Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of Business.

Dr. Harris has served as Co-Director of the Boston Chapter of Doctors for America, a national physician advocacy organization that played a significant role in national health care reform efforts. Currently, he serves on the Health Reform Task Force of the Massachusetts Medical Society and is a member of the Quality and Patient Safety Committee of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine.

“We are delighted for Dr. Julian Harris that Governor Patrick has asked him to serve as director of the Commonwealth's Medicaid program,” said Dr. Betsy Nabel, President of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “He brings to this role a rich background in health policy, business leadership and clinical care as a physician.  He is a dedicated doctor with a deep commitment to improving the delivery of health care for all those in need. We wish him the very best in his new position.”

“Dr. Harris’s background and commitment to health care for Medicaid and underserved populations will serve him well in his new role as Medicaid Director,” said Dennis D. Keefe, Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge Health Alliance. “We look forward to working with him and with the entire Office of Medicaid team.”

Dr. Harris will assume his new role on July 18. Current Medicaid Director and Assistant Secretary for Administration and Operations Terry Dougherty will remain with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services through August to ensure a smooth leadership transition.